News / USA

Hurricane Irene Makes Landfall in US

Antoine White walks in the effects of Hurricane Irene in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, August 27, 2011 as the storm moves up the coast
Antoine White walks in the effects of Hurricane Irene in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, August 27, 2011 as the storm moves up the coast

Hurricane Irene stormed ashore in the eastern U.S. state of North Carolina Saturday, beginning its potentially devastating trek up the East Coast.

Irene carried winds of 140 kilometers per hour as it made landfall and battered the eastern U.S. coast with heavy rains.

The storm has already toppled trees, flooded streets and knocked out power to tens of thousands of people.

Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center downgraded Irene to the weakest category for hurricanes with winds at 150 kilometers per hour in the early morning hours of Saturday.  But they still cautioned that the storm would remain a hurricane as it moves into the heavily populated corridor around Washington.

A hurricane warning has been issued for New York and much of the eastern U.S. coast in what. President Barack Obama is calling "an extremely dangerous and costly" storm.

In New York, Mayor Michael Bloomberg has ordered the city's first ever mandatory evacuation.  Some quarter-million people have been told to leave their homes in low-lying areas of the city, including the Wall Street financial district.  And in another first, New York's entire public transit system, including subway trains and buses, will shut down Saturday.  All three of New York's major airports will shut down starting at mid-day as well.

Airlines have already canceled hundreds of flights elsewhere on the east coast, and train services in parts of the eastern region have been suspended.

Irene is the first hurricane to seriously threaten the United States in three years. It has already killed at least one person in Puerto Rico and two in the Dominican Republic, and also destroyed homes in The Bahamas.

It also hits at the six-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, whose flooding killed more than 1,800 people and forced more than a million residents from their homes in the southeastern United States.  The federal response to that disaster was widely criticized as slow and mismanaged, and U.S. officials are determined to be prepared this time.

Obama says all indications point to Irene being a "historic" storm.  He said the nation has to be "prepared for the worst."  He returned to Washington late Friday, leaving his vacation in Massachusetts a day earlier than planned.  President Obama has directed agencies to ensure all the needed resources are available.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said Friday that federal and local authorities are taking the storm "very seriously."

The threat of the hurricane also led organizers in Washington to postpone Saturday's dedication of a memorial to civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

You May Like

Video Egyptian Journalists Call for Press Freedom

Despite release of al-Jazeera journalists and others, Egyptian Journalist Syndicate says some remain imprisoned More

Turkey Survey Indicates Traditional Distrusts, Shift to the West

Comprehensive public opinion survey also found a large majority of those interviewed distrust all countries other than country’s neighbor, Azerbaijan More

Pakistan Court Upholds Death Sentence in Blasphemy Killing

Highest court upholds sentence of Mumtaz Qadri convicted of 2011 killing a provincial governor for criticizing country’s controversial blasphemy law More

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Making a Minti
October 07, 2015 4:17 AM
While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video Self-Driving Cars Getting Closer

We are at the dawn of the robotic car age and should start getting used to seeing self-driving cars, at least on highways. Car and truck manufacturers are now running a tight race to see who will be the first to hit the street, while some taxicab companies are already planning to upgrade their fleets. VOA’s George Putic has more.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Clinton Seeks to Boost Image Before Upcoming Debate

The five announced Democratic party presidential contenders meet in their first debate next Tuesday in Las Vegas, Nevada. Former secretary of state Hillary Clinton continues to lead the Democratic field, but she is getting a stronger-than-expected challenge from Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

Video South Carolina Reels Under Worst-ever Flooding

South Carolina is reeling from the worst flooding in recorded history that forced residents from their homes and left thousands without drinking water and electricity. Parts of the state, including the capital, Columbia, received about 60 centimeters of rain in just a couple of days. Authorities warn that the end of rain does not mean the end of danger, as it will take days for the water to recede. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Russia’s Syria Involvement Raising Concerns in Europe

European nations are joining the United States in demanding that Russia stop targeting opposition groups other than the Islamic State militants as Russian warplanes continue to conduct raids in Syria. The demand came in a statement from Britain, France, Germany, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the United States Friday. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Nano-tech Filter Cleans Dirty Water

Access to clean water is a problem for hundreds of millions of people around the world. Now, a scientist and chemical engineer in Tanzania (in East Africa) is working to change that by creating an innovative water filter that makes dirty water safe. VOA’s Deborah Block has the story.

Video Demand Rising for Organic Produce in Cambodia

In Cambodia, where rice has long been the main cash crop, farmers are being encouraged to turn to vegetables to satisfy the growing demand for locally produced organic farm products. Daniel de Carteret has more from Phnom Penh.

Video Botanists Grow Furniture, with Pruning Shears

For something a bit out of the ordinary to furnish your home, why not consider wooden chairs, crafted by nature, with a little help from some British botanists with an eye for design. VOA’s Jessica Berman reports.

VOA Blogs